Impact of Media on Children and Adolescents: A 10-Year Review of the Research (2001)


Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

Volume 40, Issue 4, April 2001, Pages 392–401



To review the research literature published within the past 10 years regarding the impact of media on children and adolescents.


Media categories researched with computer technology included television and movies, rock music and music videos, advertising, video games, and computers and the Internet.


Research prior to 1990 documented that children learn behaviors and have their value systems shaped by media. Media research since has focused on content and viewing patterns.


The primary effects of media exposure are increased violent and aggressive behavior, increased high-risk behaviors, including alcohol and tobacco use, and accelerated onset of sexual activity. The newer forms of media have not been adequately studied, but concern is warranted through the logical extension of earlier research on other media forms and the amount of time the average child spends with increasingly sophisticated media.

Key Words

  • media;
  • television;
  • violence;
  • sexual activity;
  • substance use

This series of 10-year updates in child and adolescent psychiatry began in July 1996. Topics are selected in consultation with the AACAP Committee on Recertification, both for the importance of new research and its clinical or developmental significance. The authors have been asked to place an asterisk before the 5 or 6 most seminal references.


Reprint requests to Dr. Villani, Kennedy Krieger School, 1750 E. Fairmount Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21231